We are looking at some hints regarding reading the Bible that will allow your time in the Scriptures to be a little more profitable and life-giving. Last time we saw a number of issues…
1> Reading the Bible without prayer
2> Getting confused or bogged down by the things you don’t understand
3> Reading too fast, as if you are reading a novel or other fictional writing
4> Reading the Bible in a state of unrepentant
Again, the Bible is a spiritual book. Consequently, our spiritual state will affect how we read it what we get out of it, and what we see in it. Therefore, if there is something in your life that God has put His finger on, that you have not dealt with, then you want to deal with it before the Lord, because it will profoundly affect what you get out of your time reading and studying the Bible.
When it comes to Bible reading, Bible study, and Bible understanding, it is not just a matter of the methods you use, but you yourself have to be in a right state in order to understand it properly.
5> Applying Old Testament laws and rituals and promises that were spoken to Israel and that have been done away with, or fulfilled in the New Covenant.
And this is a very large topic, but so much that is in the Old Testament has application for that time, and it was either fulfilled, or done away with in the New Covenant. This applies to many of the dietary laws, it applies to many of the sacrificial rituals, it applies to the clothing rules – the clothing laws – and on and on. And it is a mistake to go back to the shadows that pointed to Jesus, and reinstitute those as law when we have Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. This is the main point of the Book of Hebrews.
There is an amazing book currently available on this subject. I don’t often recommend books on my blogs but this one is one of the most freeing books I have ever read. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is by Andy Stanley and it is called “Irresistible.” It is available in paperback and ebook. Worth the price and a book you will refer back to – even reread – often.
6> Reading the Bible out of context.
This is a big problem. A huge problem. It is very important that you take some time to read the context and the historical setting of every book of the Bible before you actually begin to read the individual book. Then you will understand why the book or letter was written, to whom it was written, when it was written, and the issues that needed to be dealt with that brought the letter (book) about in the first place.
For example, if we just go over the the New Testament, the letters we have called 1st and 2nd Timothy were written to one of Paul’s coworkers, a young man who was being mentored by Paul in issues of the Christian life and ministry. In these two letters (books of the Bible) Paul deals with a specific set of circumstances and issues that Timothy was dealing with in his work with various local churches.
Colossians, on the other hand, is an example of a letter written to a church, a local body of believers, that was experiencing a specific crisis.
Consequently, how you apply the things said in Timothy, and how you apply the things said in Colossians are going to be two very different things. One was written to a coworker, another was written to a church. That is just one example among many.
So, understanding the context, understanding who the writer is writing to, what the circumstances were, understanding what provoked the letter – if it is a New Testament letter – or what provoked the book – in the case of the Old Testament – are all very, very important to understanding the content.